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AFI to honor Morgan Freeman with Life Achievement Award

October 11, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Freeman Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was named Monday as the 39th recipient of the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award, AFI's highest honor for a career in film.

Freeman, 73, is only the second African American performer to receive the honor. Sidney Poitier received the AFI award in 1992.

"Morgan Freeman is an American treasure," said Howard Stringer, chairman of the AFI Board of Trustees. "Across decades, whether playing a prisoner, a president or God, he embodies a calm authority that demands respect for the character and for the art form. His gifts to the cultural record are also underscored by his unmistakable voice that echoes through the hearts and minds of movie lovers around the world."

Freeman will receive his award at a gala tribute on June 9; the ceremony will be broadcast on TV Land Prime later that month.

Previous recipients include John Ford, James Cagney, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Mike Nichols, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Barbara Stanwyck, Elizabeth Taylor, Warren Beatty, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and George Lucas.

Freeman began his career more than 40 years ago off-Broadway before joining the cast of the PBS children's show "The Electric Company." He won the supporting actor Academy Award for Clint Eastwood's 2004 boxing drama, "Million Dollar Baby."

He received his first supporting actor Oscar nomination for playing a vicious pimp in 1987's "Street Smart." He also earned lead actor nominations for 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy,"  1994's "The Shawshank Redemption" and Clint Eastwood's 2009's "Invictus," in which he portrayed South African President Nelson Mandela.

His latest movie, the action-thriller "Red," opens Friday.

— Susan King

Photo: Morgan Freeman in November 2009. Credit: Carolyn Cole/ Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (4)

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He deserves it.

He sure does. And the voice... Morgan Freeman doesn't even need to be on-screen, he could win a billion awards just by narrating movies :)

A well deserved award for Morgan. I loved him growing up when he played Easy Reader on the Electric Company. I would love for him to do another film with Clint Eastwood. I think they work very well together. He has one of those voices which you believe in. A voice of authority. He made people fall in love with penguins for heavens sake!

An amazing actor. And an amazing man. What insight, and knowledge. Having said that, he wouldn't want to be known as the second African American to receive the award. He would just want to be known as the 39th recipient. He made it clear, and I agree, the only way to STOP racism, is to STOP bringing it up. STOP talking about it. He is an American. Enough said.


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